The World to Come

In the creed, we say “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” I think that there are some common misconceptions when people talk about this belief. Often, it seems that when people speak of the world to come and the afterlife, they are referring to heaven. My belief, after reading the bible and the teachings of the Church is that heaven is only temporary. There is also life after life after death. At the end of time, there will be a resurrection of the dead and a last judgment. However, we will not end up in heaven forever. We will live in this world in new bodies eternally. That is what I think after my study of Church doctrine. I’m interested to hear what everyone else thinks about this idea.

I agree. This is Church teaching.

catholicculture.org/culture/library/catechism/index.cfm?recnum=3272

Just a little thing, I would be very careful in saying heaven is “temporary”. Heaven, in its most intrinsic sense, is our perfect and eternal union with God. Heaven will not cease to exist, rather the distinction between earth and heaven will cease.

I agree about the nature of heaven. Maybe “temporary” wasn’t the best word choice. I think that at the end of time the whole world will be renewed and as you say the distinction between earth and heaven will cease. I just wish more people had an understanding of this concept. Sometimes you talk to people about this kind of thing and they do not really comprehend the subtleties. The most common misconception about this is that when we die we go to heaven and that is the end of the story. Yet, there is so much more to come.

Indeed, indeed. I must say that Catholic eschatology seems relatively undeveloped and unknown to most in comparison to the eschatology that we see so prevalent among Protestant groups.

In a way this makes sense, as the Church cannot pinpoint specifics about the world to come or the end of the world because it simply doesn’t know for sure. Unlike various Protestant groups, the Church simply does not have the liberty to randomly speculate about the End, and thus we often lose a lot of the focus of the End and Christ’s Second Coming, which can be quite sad.

However, what it does know is that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and Catholics certainly have to be made more aware of this.

To me, Catholic eschatology seems to be ammillennial. I think it basically boils down to the fact that there will be the second coming of Christ and then a final judgement. As far as I can tell, the Church does not teach that there will be a tribulation, rapture, or millennial reign of Christ on Earth. Rather, after the last judgement the New Heaven and New Earth will exist eternally.

I also tend towards the amillenial position.

However, scripture does indicate that will be some sort of breakdown of the earth as we know it. I mean, things aren’t going to suddenly transition from modern day to the final judgement.

It makes sense that there will be some final war between good and evil, however that may play out or be represented.

It makes sense that in the future Christians will face more and more persecution, and this is the final tribulation. I know I’m repeating myself, but it does make sense that the earth should have descended to an extreme low point of evil and suffering before it is made new again.

I agree that there will probably be a period in the future where there is more persecution of the Church. However, I believe that Christ said that no one knows the hour of his coming. I think that we have to be careful in trying to establish a timeline of events that will lead to the second coming of Christ. We really have no way of knowing when it will happen and it can happen at any time. I think that it is very difficult if not impossible to pinpoint a chain of events that will set it in motion.

Amen amen I agree. I was just saying what makes sense, and speculating. Of course, His coming could happen at any moment and we must always be prepared.

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